2/11/2012 @ 7:16PM |6,843 views
Will Deaths By Social Network Spur Calls To Ban Facebook?49
I was watching a video, which has apparently going viral on Twitter, of a father shooting his daughter’s laptop with a .45 after reading a disrespectful post by her that she thought he couldn’t see.
Her memo likely was seen by a small group. His video – and he shot the laptop with the entire clip of hollow point bullets – has been seen by thousands and it likely is only a matter of time before his neighbors, in-laws, local law enforcement and his employer see and react to what he has done.
This time no one was hurt. A few days earlier, however, a couple was shot and killed, the woman with her baby in her arms, and the man with his throat cut, because the attacker’s daughter was unfriended. This wasn’t even a nasty note, just some girl saying she didn’t want another girl as a friend on a social networking website. In fact, if you search on “shot killed Facebook,” you’ll suddenly get a surprising number of hits from someone who used Facebook to solicit an assassin a few months ago, a plot (that apparently was executed) on Facebook to kill the father of one teen’s baby, and a Facebook dialog on a child who accidently shot himself, resulting in death threats and cyber bullying (no additional deaths yet).
Suddenly, it appears a rather impressive number of people are either dying or under threat of death as a result of bad Facebook behavior. Generally when we see a lot, and that may be as few as two, people die connected to the use of a product that product is recalled (in some cases even if the product isn’t at fault), particularly when children are put at risk. Well, it looks to me like children are being put at risk from bullying and death threats, with some actual killings.
I’m wondering when Facebook will be banned.
Will Facebook be Banned?
The reality is that much like any new technology, there often is an initial learning period where people don’t fully understand the risks. I recall a TV news show that was going back into history and talking about the first automotive head-on collision, which was between the very first two cars in a large city. Well, we didn’t ban cars and they are clearly still running into each other at an alarming rate. In fact, in looking at this, given how often trains are running into each other, switching to them might not be a particularly good idea either (and we aren’t banning them, by the way). Banning Facebook would just shift people over to another service where they are likely to still make really bad decisions so I doubt it will fix the problem.
At the core of this issue is the fact we haven’t adjusted as a society yet to the ability to publish easily to large numbers of people. We were just getting used to e-mail when social networks showed up. We typically measure human adoption of major changes in communication in terms of decades – and here we’ve only had a relatively few years. However, there is a real risk to Facebook because should a Facebook activity be connected to a Columbine-type disaster, governments have a tendency to overreact.
Take for instance 9/11. What was needed was a change in the policy so that cockpit doors are better secured. The overreaction turned travel into a nightmare, incurred massive expenses, and almost bankrupted a number of airlines. Most of the changes had very little to do with the problem, they were just an example of a panicked government trying to make sure they couldn’t be accused of not doing enough when another attack occurred – and people believed another one was likely (hence being on a heightened state of awareness for years after the event, which became a bad joke in and of itself).
So, I think, given the right set of circumstances, Facebook and social networks in general could be banned. And in some countries, which increasingly fear that these networks are being used to undermine the government, that is an agenda item. Even France appears to be treating the words “Facebook and Twitter” as if they were foul language banning them from the airwaves. In Thailand these services are banned during elections. In fact, even though none of these are yet connected to deaths, increasingly people are recommending parents ban their children from Facebook. You could probably spend an afternoon reading pieces from all over the world on bans on social networks.
So, I think the conditions are right for an event to result in a social network ban and given the size of Facebook they will likely be the first target which could certainly dampen their coming IPO which is currently expected to set records, well above what the company is currently worth.
Sunday, 12 February 2012
Will Deaths By Social Network Spur Calls To Ban Facebook? - Forbes